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Starmer says ‘new approach’ to Europe begins at Blenheim Palace summit – with focus on Putin and people smuggling | Politics News

Sir Keir Starmer will pledge to “fire the starting gun” on a closer relationship with Europe as he hosts a major summit, set to focus on Ukraine and migration. 

The prime minister will welcome at least 45 European leaders to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire for a meeting of the European Political Community (EPC), which was set up in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

All European countries – barring Russia and Belarus – are invited to the summit, intended to galvanise support for Ukraine, where fighting is expected to intensify over the summer.

Politics live: Starmer pledges ‘national renewal’ in King’s Speech

It comes just days after the attempt on Donald Trump’s life in the US appears to have transformed the race for the White House, and raised concerns about a Republican administration cutting financial support for Kyiv.

But the summit is also seen as a golden opportunity for the new government to discuss a European security pact, and easing burdens on trade with the EU – two of Sir Keir’s stated priorities which Downing Street said might otherwise have taken months.

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Ahead of the summit, the prime minister said the Europe-wide challenge of illegal migration and people smuggling gangs was one the UK would take a leading role in addressing – an issue Rishi Sunak had put high on the agenda at the summit’s previous meetings.

After scrapping the Conservatives’s plan to send failed asylum seekers to Rwanda, Sir Keir will announce the redeployment of 100 Home Office staff working on that policy to a new “rapid returns unit” to send those ineligible to be in the UK to their home countries.

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Sir Keir will say: “We cannot let the challenges of the recent past define our relationships of the future. That is why European security will be at the forefront of this government’s foreign and defence priorities, and why I am focused on seizing this moment to renew our relationship with Europe.

“The EPC will fire the starting gun on this government’s new approach to Europe, one that will not just benefit us now, but for generations to come, from dismantling the people smuggling webs trafficking people across Europe, to standing up to Putin’s barbaric actions in Ukraine and destabilising activity across Europe.

“My government was elected with a mandate for change. I asked the British people to judge me by my actions, not words. This meeting of European leaders is an opportunity to push on and begin delivering on the people’s priorities. We will only be able to secure our borders, drive economic growth and defend our democracies if we work together.”

Last week, announcing his priorities for the summit, Sir Keir said Europe cannot be “spectators in this chapter of history”.

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10,000 migrants arrive in UK in 2024

Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is symbolic as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill who, ministers will point out, stood up to tyranny in Europe. It was also used by MI5 during the Second World War.

This is the EPC’s fourth summit and arguably its most ambitious, with the leaders of NATO and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe also attending.

King Charles and Queen Camilla will host a reception for European leaders in the afternoon.

Sir Keir spoke about his interest in securing a defence and security pact with the EU in Washington this month, although he stressed that NATO was “still the cornerstone of our defence in Europe”.

He has promised closer trade ties with the EU. In a sign of its importance, he has also created the post of minister for European relations, and given it to his ally Nick Thomas-Symonds.

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Starmer pledges Ukraine support during a NATO summit in Washington DC

Although no formal statement is expected at the end of the summit, several one-on-one meetings are planned.

On Wednesday night, Sir Keir met the Irish Taoiseach Simon Harris, and he will have dinner with Emmanuel Macron at Blenheim. He is also expected to meet with the prime minister of Poland.

Sir Keir’s focus on migration, just after announcing a Border Security Bill in the King’s Speech to tackle smuggling gangs, reflects the issue soaring up Europe’s agenda.

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The new Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Criminal smuggling gangs are making millions out of small boat crossings and the Tories left us with gimmick rather than grip.

“We will work right across Europe to tackle this problem at source, going after those profiting from this awful trade and bringing them to justice.”

Muriel McKay’s family say police ‘missing a trick’ by not asking killer Nizam Hosein to point out burial site at farm | UK News

The family of murder victim Muriel McKay are heading for a confrontation with detectives over concerns they are not doing enough to find her remains.

Muriel’s son Ian McKay and grandson Mark Dyer are expected to revisit the Hertfordshire farmland site of a new excavation to thrash out their concerns with police on Thursday.

The family say they’ve been told Muriel’s daughter Dianne, 85, has been banned from the site, where it’s believed Muriel’s body was buried after her kidnap and murder 55 years ago.

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Muriel McKay’s son joins new search

Ian McKay, 82, said: “The officer in charge told me my sister Di is banned and won’t be allowed to visit. I was dumbfounded.

“He wouldn’t say why, but I think it must be that she complained before about his outrageous behaviour towards her and he’s now under internal investigation.”

Police officers searching inside a barn at a Hertfordshire farm for the remains of Muriel McKay.
Pic: Met Police/PA
Pic: Met Police/PA

The family are angry the same officer “rudely” stopped their lawyer, who was armed with “helpful” old maps and photographs of the farm, entering the site with them on Tuesday.

Reporters witnessed the Metropolitan Police officer turning back solicitor Robert Edginton who arrived with Mr McKay and Mr Dyer.

The officer shook Mr Edginton’s hand and told him abruptly: “You’re not coming in.” When Mr Dyer explained the solicitor had useful maps and documents, the officer said: “He’s not coming in.”

Mr Dyer said: “He was very rude to Robert who has spent weeks researching the site and had valuable information that would have helped the search.

“That officer led the search here two years ago, when they didn’t find anything, and we don’t believe he wants us to succeed. I don’t understand why. He told me last year police would never go back to dig again and here we are, back at the farm. He should be taken off the investigation.”

Read more:
Muriel McKay – the woman who vanished

Police search
Police arriving for the new search of the suspected burial site

Police search

‘If you’re looking for buried gold, bring in the person that buried it’

The family also want to ask why police haven’t invited Muriel’s convicted killer Nizam Hosein – who recently told the McKays where he buried her – to come and point to the burial site and perhaps save much work and time.

Hosein, who is now 76, served 20 years in a UK prison for murder before being deported to his native Trinidad. To let him return the Home Office would have to lift or suspend his deportation order.

But Detective Superintendent Katherine Goodwin, in overall charge of the operation, told the family recently she would be “happy to meet him” if Hosein came back.

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Daughter meets mother’s killer

Mr McKay said: “If you were looking for buried gold you would bring in the person who buried it, surely? They are missing a trick, an obvious trick.

“When they showed me around on Tuesday they had hardly dug any of the site that’s been marked out. I can’t see how they are going to complete a proper search by Friday, which is what they said.”

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The Hertfordshire farm where Muriel McKay is thought to be buried
The Hertfordshire farm where Ms McKay is thought to be buried

Police ‘aren’t using scanners’

Mr Dyer added: “They aren’t using scanners which we suggested would have given them much more focus on the likely place my grandmother was buried.”

The search, which began on Monday, is being done with the permission of the farm owner Ian Marsh. Footpaths that go through the farm have been blocked off and an air exclusion zone has been imposed.

Hosein, who was 22 at the time, kidnapped Muriel, 55, just after Christmas in 1969 with his older brother Arthur.

They mistook her for Anna, the wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch – who had just bought The Sun newspaper. Muriel was the wife of Murdoch’s deputy Alick McKay.

The Hosein brothers were convicted at the Old Bailey after one of the first murder trials without a body.

Sky News has contacted the Metropolitan Police for a response.

Labour promises to ‘take the breaks off Britain’ in King’s Speech | Politics News

Labour has promised to “take the brakes off Britain” as it outlines its plans for government in the King’s Speech later today.

More than 35 bills are expected to be unveiled during the event, which will see King Charles read out the list of policies and pledges from the Houses of Parliament.

The party said the focus would be on “unlocking growth and improving living standards for working people” in what it called an “ambitious legislative agenda”, echoing the “first steps” Sir Keir Starmer campaigned on in the general election.

Analysis: King’s Speech will be biggest symbol of change Labour hopes to bring

Speaking ahead of the announcements, the prime minister said: “For too long people have been held back, their paths determined by where they came from – not their talents and hard work.

“I am determined to create wealth for people up and down the country. It is the only way our country can progress, and my government is focused on supporting that aspiration.”

It is not clear yet what all the bills will be, but Downing Street confirmed a number of measures on the eve of the speech.

They include legislation to bring rail services back into public ownership when their current private contracts expire and the establishment of a new public body called Great British Railways to oversee both the services themselves and fares.

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The most radical King’s speech yet?

A Better Buses Bill will also be introduced, giving local authorities more power to franchise their services, as well as lifting restrictions on creating new publicly owned bus operators.

Long-trailed planning reforms are expected to be outlined to help with the building of houses and infrastructure, and a new English Devolution Bill will transfer further powers to local leaders.

Sir Keir said: “Today’s new laws will take back control and lay the foundations of real change that this country is crying out for, creating wealth in every community and making people better off – supporting their ambitions, hopes and dreams.”

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The now leader of the Opposition, former prime minister Rishi Sunak, said the Conservatives would not “oppose for the sake of it” as Labour pushes forward with its plans, but it was their “responsibility” to speak up and hold the new government to account.

When MPs debate the King’s Speech in parliament on Wednesday, Mr Sunak is expected to say: “[Labour] tapped into the public’s desire for change, but they must now deliver change, and we on this side of the House will hold them accountable for delivering on the commitments they made to the British people.

“The Labour Party promised no tax rises on working people and no plans for tax rises beyond what’s in their manifesto, in full knowledge of the public finances.

“They can’t now claim that things are worse than they thought and renege on these pledges. We will hold the government to its own promises.”

Priti Patel to run for Tory leadership, Sky News understands | Politics News

Former home secretary Priti Patel is going to run to replace Rishi Sunak as leader of the Conservative Party, Sky News understands.

Rumours have been circling Westminster for months that the Tory MP was lining herself up for the race if the party lost the general election.

Now, after Labour’s landslide victory two weeks ago, Ms Patel has made the decision to go ahead, as first reported in the Telegraph.

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A number of other candidates are expected to throw their hats in the ring too, including Ms Patel’s successor in the Home Office, Suella Braverman.

Other contenders include former business secretary Kemi Badenoch, ex-immigration minister Robert Jenrick and the previous security minister Tom Tugenhadt.

But none have officially announced their candidacy.

Mr Sunak is continuing in post until a new leader is announced, but the party are split over whether to make it a quick handover or a longer contest.

Shadow foreign secretary Andrew Mitchell told Sky News on Monday that Mr Sunak’s instinct “is almost certainly to go” but more time was needed for potential successors to make their case.

But other senior figures fear a protracted contest could leave a vacuum for Labour and Reform UK to capitalise on.

King’s Speech will be biggest symbol of change Labour hopes to bring | Politics News

Wednesday will be the first time in 14 years that Labour has set the agenda for government.

So, for Sir Keir Starmer’s new administration, this moment is rich in symbolism and in substance.

It is the chance for his government to exercise its power and show momentum.

Politics live: Wales’ first minister resigns

The King’s Speech will be the “foundation stone” for Sir Keir’s much-repeated mission to “rebuild Britain”. Number 10 will lay down over 35 bills to that end, with economic growth at the forefront of the programme for government.

Armed with a 170-seat majority and in the honeymoon period with the public, the new prime minister’s approval ratings have ticked up eight points since the election, according to YouGov, and he is now on the cusp of having a positive net favourability.

Watch coverage of the King’s Speech live on Sky News on Wednesday

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This period of time is perhaps as good as it’s going to get for Sir Keir. He is at the apex of his power and this King’s Speech will be closely watched as the blueprint for the scale of his ambition in the opening phases of premiership for a leader who says he wants to carry out a “decade of renewal”.

And his team are buoyed. Appearing at a Labour Together event on Monday evening, Chancellor Rachel Reeves spoke of how “one day in government” is already better than 14 years in opposition because it means her party can finally get things done.

One senior figure said Sir Keir and his team intended to run an “insurgent” administration, in which it has to prove to the public that the government can do a little bit more for them, to fix things, and then look to the future about what it might do next, rather than expect support on its record.

To that end, his team stresses that the meat of the agenda will be around delivering growth, as well it might given that the new Labour government is relying on that, rather than additional tax rises, to better fund creaking public services.

One government figure told me: “It’s going to feel really big, by any comparison to any incoming government. We’ve had a week to knock it about, but we’ve been working on it for a lot longer, and you wouldn’t be able to compare to another new government, it’s that meaty.

“It’s going to be a real moment in terms of focus and setting out the missions and delivery. There will be unfinished business in there and a sense of a government of service.”

The raft of bills will include bedding in fiscal rules and empowering the Office for Budget Responsibility to independently publish forecasts of big fiscal events.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer with Chancellor Rachel Reeves. Pick: Number 10 Flickr
Prime Minister Keir Starmer with Chancellor Rachel Reeves. Pick: Number 10 Flickr

In her first speech as chancellor, Ms Reeves articulated the political story the government will seek to make over the next five years: “To fix the foundations of our economy so we can rebuild Britain and make every part of our country better off.”

There will be a series of “growth” focused bills – be it around housebuilding, devolution, improving transport and increasing jobs.

They also will push ahead with GB Energy, a new state-owned energy investor that will take stakes in renewables and nuclear projects as part of Labour’s promise to deliver all electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

On the planning side, Labour will legislate so that public bodies can use compulsory purchase order powers to acquire land without the need for individual approvals by a secretary of state.

A new “take back control” bill will set a presumption towards devolution with new powers for mayors over transport, skills, energy and planning, which Labour says will help rejuvenate high streets and generate growth right across the country.

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Sky questions chancellor on growth

On housing, Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner’s ban on no-fault evictions will also be tabled in a push to reform the private rented sector in England.

Ms Reeves has already announced plans to restore mandatory local housing targets in order to get more housebuilding, and Ms Rayner will begin the formal process of consulting on the National Planning Policy Framework before the end of July – with a view to start implementing the plans as early as autumn as Labour looks to get moving.

The government will also include plans to implement worker protection reforms, including a crackdown on zero-hours contracts and “fire and rehire” practices, and an AI bill, which will seem to enhance the legal safeguards around the most cutting-edge technologies.

There will also be a new law to put the water industry in “special measures”, which would see executives face bonus restrictions and potential criminal sanctions if they fail to clean up Britain’s rivers and beaches.

Angela Rayner walks outside Downing Street.
Pic: Reuters
Angela Rayner now leads on the government’s housing policy. Pic: Reuters

Much of the King Speech will reflect Sir Keir’s “first steps” for government he campaigned on during the general election.

But his message of change is also qualified with a plea for patience from a new Labour government, which is using its early weeks in office to talk up the state of the inheritance – as George Osborne did in 2010 – in order to buy time.

You only have to look at what Ms Reeves has said on the state of the public finances, caused in large part by the pandemic and energy price shock, or what the prime minister has said on the state of some public services, with prisons in a “shocking” and “far worse” state than he had anticipated, to see the pitch-rolling that improvements are going to take time – perhaps the full five years of the first term.

But with a big majority and a party hungry for change, there are already hints of some of the pressures to come for this infant government.

The SNP has announced plans to table an amendment in the King’s Speech calling on the government to scrap the two-child benefit cap.

Kim Johnson of Labour is also tabling an amendment which former shadow chancellor John McDonnell will support.

A rebellion on this is building, with many in the party agreeing with former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown and Scotland’s Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who have publicly called on Sir Keir to scrap it.

The prime minister has refused to do so, saying this is a “difficult” decision driven by tight public finances.

Mr McDonnell has said he will look to amend the budget later this year if it doesn’t include steps to scrap the cap.

There is also internal disquiet in the party that the Labour Together and Labour First groupings are messaging the new 2024 MPs with a slate to take control of the parliamentary Labour Party and National Executive Committee positions.

One backbench source tells me that this “fixing” is adding to resentment amongst a group in the party after the government dropped 31 shadow ministers, while one figure tells me that MPs with large Sikh communities are beginning to bring up the problem of both Skikh shadow ministers being dropped.

A government source downplayed the tensions, pointing out that “groupings that are seen as more pro or sceptical of the leadership running in internal elections is as old as the hills”, and said the party leadership was not organising such slates.

But with a majority of 172, Sir Keir will not be too worried about internal soundings. His most pressing task is to show the public that his government really does mean change – and the King’s Speech will be the biggest symbol of that yet.

Gareth Southgate’s statement in full as he resigns as England manager after eight years | UK News

As a proud Englishman, it has been the honour of my life to play for England and to manage England. It has meant everything to me, and I have given it my all.

But it’s time for change, and for a new chapter. Sunday’s final in Berlin against Spain was my final game as England manager.

I joined the FA in 2011, determined to improve English football. In that time, including eight years as England men’s manager, I have been supported by some brilliant people who have my heartfelt thanks.

I could not have had anyone better alongside me than Steve Holland. He is one of the most talented coaches of his generation, and has been immense.

I have had the privilege of leading a large group of players in 102 games. Every one of them has been proud to wear the three lions on their shirts, and they have been a credit to their country in so many ways.

Read more: Southgate resigns as England manager

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Southgate speaking after England lost the Euro 2024 final

The squad we took to Germany is full of exciting young talent and they can win the trophy we all dream of. I am so proud of them, and I hope we get behind the players and the team at St. George’s Park and the FA who strive every day to improve English football, and understand the power football has to drive positive change.

My special thanks go to the backroom staff who have provided the players and me with unstinting support over the last eight years. Their hard work and commitment inspired me every day, and I am so grateful to them – the brilliant ‘team behind the team’.

We have the best fans in the world, and their support has meant the world to me. I’m an England fan and I always will be.

I look forward to watching and celebrating as the players go on to create more special memories and to connect and inspire the nation as we know they can.

Thank you, England – for everything.

Britain must be able to confront China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, warns new defence lead | UK News

Britain’s armed forces must have the ability to confront a “deadly quartet” of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, the surprise pick to lead a major review of the UK’s shrunken defences has warned.

Lord Robertson, a former Labour defence secretary and former NATO chief, is being brought back to frontline military policy by Sir Keir Starmer after he led Labour’s last Strategic Defence Review (SDR) more than a quarter of a century ago.

In another novel twist, the government on Tuesday announced two other external experts will work with the peer on crafting the new blueprint for the future shape and size of the armed forces.

They include Fiona Hill, a former foreign policy adviser to the Donald Trump White House who testified against the former president during his impeachment trial.

Fiona Hill after testifying at the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. Pic: Reuters
Fiona Hill after testifying at the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. File pic: Reuters

Her appointment could draw criticism from Mr Trump – who could well be elected back into power later this year – just as the new prime minister and his top team stress the importance of the transatlantic alliance.

Ms Hill, a leading expert on Russia who is British but has US citizenship, has previously likened Mr Trump to President Vladimir Putin. He has said about her: “She doesn’t know the first thing she’s talking about. If she didn’t have the accent, she would be nothing.”

Speaking about the new role, Ms Hill said: “This review could not be more timely given the current global turmoil and rapid technological change. I am honoured to participate in this important and critical exercise.”

The third outside reviewer is General Sir Richard Barrons, a highly-regarded four-star general once tipped to be the head of the armed forces, but who left the military in 2016.

Speaking at a press conference to talk about the launch of the government’s new defence review, Lord Robertson said he and his team would aim to provide “fresh thinking” as he set out what he called the “threats and challenges” the nation faces.

“We’re confronted by a deadly quartet of nations increasingly working together,” he said.

“We in this country and the NATO alliance … have got to be able to confront that particular quartet as well as the other problems that are pervading the world.”

The description of China as “deadly” is far stronger than the more nuanced language used by the previous government about Beijing.

Lord Robertson did not identify the quartet by name but the other three countries are thought to be Russia, Iran and North Korea.

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John Healey, the current defence secretary, said the external team would work with the “deep expertise” inside the Ministry of Defence on a review that he promised would be delivered “at pace” within the first half of next year. They will also draw on submissions from academia, think tanks and even journalists.

He said the UK needed a “new era for defence”. Yet he still faces the same old problems of a military that has been hollowed out by decades of cost-saving cuts and with limited finances available to deliver the transformation that will be needed.

The government has pledged to increase defence spending to 2.5% of national income from about 2.2% at present, but has failed to offer any kind of timeline.

Mr Healey, speaking candidly alongside Lord Robertson, said even such an uplift in expenditure would not be a “magic wand” that would fix all problems.

“Because if we simply use additional funding to relieve some of the pressures in present programmes and plans, we will fail to get to grips with the very serious situation we face and the changes we must make to be better fit to fight in the future, better able to defend Britain, and better able to deter the threats that we may face in the future as well.”

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Mr Healey also revealed a desire for the wider defence sector to play a much larger role in the government’s plans to boost economic growth.

“In many ways, defence is the untold story of economic growth and the economic engine in Britain,” he said, noting that the average wage is 40% higher than other manufacturing sectors, while 70% of defence industry jobs are outside London and the South East.

“So, for a government that wants to drive growth, improve productivity and spread wealth creation, defence is one of the cornerstones of a new industrial strategy.”

Liz Truss hits out at ‘weak’ Joe Biden as she attends Republican convention in support of Donald Trump | Politics News

Liz Truss has branded Joe Biden a “weak president” as she attended the Republican National Convention in support of Donald Trump.

Speaking to Sky News’ James Matthews in Milwaukee, the former British prime minister criticised the current US president for his “rhetoric” around Mr Trump, who survived an assassination attempt at the weekend.

But unlike some right-wing politicians and commentators, she said she was “not prepared to draw the line” between Mr Biden’s language and the motivation of the gunman.

Follow the latest from the Trump nomination

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How the Trump attack unfolded

Mr Trump suffered minor injuries in the shooting at one of his rallies on Saturday, but an audience member was killed and two others remain in a critical condition in hospital.

Ms Truss said it was “absolutely appalling” and the presidential candidate was “just incredibly lucky, frankly, not to be killed”.

She said there “seems to have been a failure to properly protect” Mr Trump, as she called for a “full investigation into what happened”.

And she said it “makes everybody who is involved in politics fear what could happen”.

But Ms Truss said the man hoping to return to the White House after November’s US election “showed his strength and fortitude”.

She added it was “reminiscent” of another ex-prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who still gave her party conference speech after the IRA bombed her hotel in Brighton in 1984.

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher giving a speech during the Conservative Party Conference in Brighton. Pic: PA
Margaret Thatcher gave her Tory conference speech hours after an attempt on her life in Brighton. Pic: PA

Asked whether Mr Biden held any portion of blame over the attempt on Mr Trump’s life, the former Conservative MP – who lost her seat at the last general election – said: “I do not support Joe Biden.

“I think he has been a weak president of the United States and I want Donald Trump to win.

“But clearly it is the responsibility of the putative assassin and the security services what’s happened.”

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She went on: “I don’t like the rhetoric [from Mr Biden]… but I am not prepared to draw the line between one and the other.”

‘False alarm’ results in King and Queen being briefly pulled away from engagement in Jersey | UK News

The King and Queen were briefly pulled away from an engagement in Jersey after a “false alarm”.

The Queen was said to be eating an ice cream at an “expo” event when a member of the royal entourage said something to her in private.

She and the King were then ushered away and taken into the nearby Pomme d’Or hotel in the island’s capital, St Helier.

Queen Camilla
Queen Camilla as she attends the Jersey Expo Event in St Helier, Jersey. Pic: PA

King Charles speaks to cadets as he arrives to view the presentation of the King's Colour to the Jersey Sea Cadets.
Pic PA
King Charles speaks to cadets as he arrives to view the presentation of the King’s Colour to the Jersey Sea Cadets.
Pic PA

It is understood a member of the royals’ team raised a concern, but after an investigation, it turned out to be a false alarm.

After a full check was carried out, the visit resumed shortly afterwards.

The incident took place near the beginning of a two-day whistle-stop trip to the Channel Islands.

The King and Queen travelled to Jersey on Monday, before they are due to head onto Guernsey on Tuesday in their first visit to the two islands – which are crown dependencies – since the King acceded to the throne.

The trip will end the day before the planned opening of parliament on Wednesday – which is also the Queen’s 77th birthday.

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It comes as the King continues some public duties despite his ongoing cancer treatment.

The Queen is said to have urged him to take it easy, but she told author Lee Child he “won’t slow down and won’t do what he’s told”.

The King is known as the Duke of Normandy on the Channel Islands – dating from when William the Conqueror’s son, Henry I, seized the Duchy of Normandy, including the islands, in 1106.

Queen Camilla is given an ice cream as she attends the Jersey Expo Event at Weighbridge Place in St Helier, Jersey, during her two day visit to the Channel Islands. Picture date: Monday July 15, 2024
Queen Camilla is given an ice cream as she attends the Jersey Expo Event in St Helier, Jersey. Pic: PA

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The Royal couple last visited the islands during the Diamond Jubilee year of 2012.

But ahead of this week’s visits, both Jersey and Guernsey have announced special public holidays to mark the royal visits on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Queen Camilla
Queen Camilla talks with dignitaries during the trip

On Guernsey, the Royals will attend a special sitting of the States of Deliberation, held outdoors on the St Peter Port seafront where islanders can watch the events.

When Queen Elizabeth II visited Jersey in 2001, she was presented with two dead ducks on a silver tray – part of an ancient tradition dating back to the Middle Ages when six seigneurs – lords of the manor – would pay homage to the sovereign as the Duke of Normandy with the mallards.

England fan with ‘Euro 2024 Winners’ tattoo speaks after loss | UK News

A football fan who got a tattoo of the words “England Euro 2024 Winners” has said he intends to keep the permanent ink despite the team’s 2-1 defeat to Spain in the final.

Dan Thomas, 29, from Swindon, Wiltshire, got the tattoo, including a depiction of the Henri Delaunay Cup, on his left leg days before the final, but says he does not intend to cover it up after the loss.

Undated handout photo by Dan Thomas of himself. Dan from Swindon has had a tattoo of a trophy and the words 'England Euro 2024 Winners' done on his leg before the final does not intend to cover it up and said he "still loves" the permanent ink, despite the Three Lions defeat. Issue date: Monday July 15, 2024.
Dan Thomas. Pic: PA

England’s wait for a major men’s trophy since the country won the World Cup in 1966 goes on after substitute Mikel Oyarzabal hit the net in the 86th minute.

It was a second successive European Championship final defeat for Gareth Southgate‘s side.

But Mr Thomas remains confident the Three Lions will win the next tournament in 2028 and plans potentially to alter his tattoo in four years.

“We came close, I don’t regret the tattoo,” the data consultant said.

“If anything, I don’t think it’d be hard to change the four into an eight in four years’ time. I won’t be covering it up. Absolutely no regrets and I still love it.”

Undated handout photo by Jack Wilkinson of Dan Thomas from Swindon had a tattoo of a trophy and the words 'England Euro 2024 Winners' done on his leg before the final against Spain on Sunday. Issue date: Sunday July 14, 2024.
Dan Thomas with his new ink. Pic: PA

Pic: PA
Pic: PA

Mr Thomas described the result as “bittersweet” and praised the team for reaching the final.

“Bittersweet after the game, the result wasn’t what we wanted, but a great achievement to reach yet another final,” he said.

“It’s only a matter of time before we win something.

“I think England played well. I’d say [Marc] Guehi was the stand-out player in the match, however [Kobbie] Mainoo has made the difference over the course of the tournament.”

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The superfan has urged other England fans to get their own tattoos to show support for the Three Lions ahead of the next tournament.

“I don’t really tend to look at the comments on my tattoo. Other people’s opinions don’t phase me,” the data consultant said.

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“I’d encourage others to do the same in following tournaments to get behind the team.”

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Mr Thomas considered getting a similar tattoo in 2021 when England faced Italy in the Euro 2020 final and had hoped this year’s tattoo would help to secure Southgate’s team victory.

He spent two and a half hours at the Reign Barbers and Tattoos parlour in Swindon getting the artwork on his leg, which was livestreamed and received 42,000 views on TikTok.